What is a cervix?

Great question! The cervix is the bottom of the uterus, and connects the uterus to the vagina. It’s a muscle shaped like a very small doughnut, with a tiny hole in the middle.

That tiny hole allows menstrual blood to leave the uterus during menstruation.  It also lets sperm enter the uterus from the vagina and continue on their journey to the fallopian tubes. Anything larger cannot pass through the cervix. This includes tampons, toys and vibrators, and penises.

If you want to, you may be able to touch your cervix by inserting a finger or two deep into your vagina—just wash your hands first! You might notice that it feels a bit like the tip of your nose.

It’s important to take care of your cervical health!

You can do this by getting the HPV vaccine, which helps prevent you from getting certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). These strains can cause certain cancers, including cervical cancer. Since the vaccine prevents HPV, it’s important to get vaccinated early, before you could be exposed to this super common sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC, you can get the HPV vaccine for free at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Learn more about the HPV vaccine.

Once you turn 21 years old, it’s also generally recommended to get a Pap smear every 3 years. A Pap smear is a screening tool that checks your cervical cells for any abnormalities. Learn more about what it’s like to get a gynecological exam and Pap smear.